Mahalath is not entirely happy about flying in an experimental vessel with a crew and captain who, according to Mahalath, are obviously deranged. She says that she would rather travel overland and reminds me that the trader, John, exchanged a large, worthless, candle, for a small, valuable, candle, that he traded for an old manuscript, which he exchanged for a consignment of pears which, he said, he could swap for a house which would raise the money to buy camels, so, thinking that John may have some camels, we drop down to land.
We find John with some camels but he tells us that they aren’t his camels as, because of an error, when he traded the manuscript for pears, bears arrived instead, the owner of the house wouldn’t accept bears in return for the house, in fact, he didn’t want pears either, as the house wasn’t for sale, which means, he shouts, that after all the effort he has made on our behalf, all he has is some borrowed camels and too many bears. Before we have a chance to say that we never asked him get camels in the first place, John heads off over the desert, leaving us with the bears. Mahalath, looking at the bears, says that John must be the worst trader in the world, I agree with her but, having no choice in the matter, we set off across the desert, a journey which, with a group of bears in tow, is likely to be slow and somewhat irritating.
Professor Humperdink’s Diary